TOLEDO, Ohio — Imagine being a UAW member, and you're watching your own union go on strike from a TV screen while you still clock into work every day.
"It's an uncomfortable feeling, we should all be in this together," said Rich Fader, a millwright at the Mack Assembly Plant in Detroit.
That's been his reality for the last five days, going through the minutiae of his day-to-day, working on expired contracts while Toledo's Stellantis Jeep Assembly Plant and two other plants in Michigan and Missouri walk the picket line.
While UAW president Shaun Fain said more factories will join the strike Friday at noon if negotiations don't go their way, Fader and other members of Local 51 decided they weren't going to sit idly by and wait to see if they were picked next.
"We're going to come out here, show our support, be walking the picket line and we're going to bring a couple of things down here to help the guys. Some water, some pizza, just some simple things like that. We're looking to support all of our brothers and sisters," said Fader.
Jim Cooper, a strike captain from UAW Local 12, said seeing everyone coming out to support them is a great example of an old expression: you get what you give.
"In the past, we here have supported a lot of these other unions when they've had labor actions or strikes in the last few years," said Cooper. "So it's good to see all these other unions come back and support us and I hope we can see that solidarity moving forward."
Like Fader, Cooper says he's not walking the line for himself.
"This doesn't affect me, but we have to find a way to get our temporary, or the supplemental employees as you might call them, we need to find a way to get them in here," Cooper said.
Jason Mayonor, who's served Jeep as a temporary worker for the last six years, still doesn't have access to the essentials.
"I have underlying health issues so that's why I need the health insurance, and they have great health insurance," Mayonor said.
The new contracts could give him and other temp workers access to health insurance for the first time.
While Fader said he only had a few hours to picket before his own shift started, stories like Mayonor's are what brought him down from Detroit to Toledo, joining the fight to restore the working middle class.
"This is what unions stand for and Shaun Fain has finally stood up to do the right thing for us the workers," said Fader.
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